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UNC Board of Governors face protest, chooses new board chair and interim president

It was a busy day at the final meeting of the year for the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors meeting.

A half-dozen group of student and faculty protesters disrupted Friday’s meeting with their objections to the selection of Margaret Spellings as the next UNC president, according to WRAL.

Spellings served as President George W. Bush’s education secretary, and some have questioned her ties to for-profit higher education companies.

Friday’s meeting was also the final board meeting for UNC President Tom Ross.

Junius Gonzales, the system’s senior vice-president of academic affairs, was selected to serve as the interim president until Spellings arrives in North Carolina in March to take over as president.

Junius Gonzales (left) and Louis Bissette (right)

Junius Gonzales (left) and Louis Bissette (right)

Gonzales, a psychiatrist who came to the UNC system last year after working at the University of Texas at El Paso, will take on the interim president role on Jan. 4, the day after Ross’ officially leaves, according to a news release from the UNC system.

The UNC board also chose its new chair, Louis Bissette, an Asheville attorney. Bissette, the vice-chair for the board, had stepped in after John Fennebresque resigned his position and left the board days after Spellings was hired.

To read more about Friday’s meeting, and the Spellings protests, read this piece by WRAL’s Mark Binker, or this account by the News & Observer.

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